Women’s Annual Exams
Even if you don’t have any health concerns, you should still get an annual exam once per year since one of the most important benefits of an annual exam is preventing future health problems from developing. An annual medical exam also allows for the detection of any new diseases as well as treatment of any existing medical conditions that you may not know about. Therefore, it is imperative to schedule these brief annual visits to maintain your overall health. In the long run it can save you money, time and most importantly, your life.
There are a few simple things you can do before your appointment to be more prepared, and get the most out of the exam:
- Make sure to schedule the annual exam when you are not on your period.
- Write down any questions or concerns you may have about your health, so you can discuss them with your health provider.
- Keep a record of your last menstrual period and how old you were when you had your first period.
- Avoid sexual intercourse, douching or inserting anything into your vagina 48 hours before the exam.
When you first arrive at our offices, you will be asked to complete a medical history form that includes all pertinent information regarding your health. Once you have completed your medical history form, you will have your vital signs (weight, temperature, height, pulse, and blood pressure) checked. This allows your health provider to monitor if any major and/or unusual changes to your vital signs may have occurred since your last visit. During your visit with your health provider, the following exams and issues will be addressed depending on your current health condition and potential risk factors:
- Review of your completed health history
- Review of any current medications
- Discussion of any concerns
- A physical exam
- A breast exam
- Test for sexually transmitted infections (if needed)
- Pelvic exam and Pap Smear (if needed)
Although pap smears are not recommended until age 21, and after age 21, only recommended every 3 years – it is still important to get an annual exam once per year – especially if you are sexually active. Even if you don’t have any health concerns, an annual medical exam allows for the detection of any new diseases and possible STD’s or vaginal infections that you may not know about as well as treatment of any existing medical conditions. Some infections show no symptoms in women, yet are causing damage and even fertility if left untreated. In the long run it can save you money, time and most importantly, your life.
An annual exam appointment is a good time to discuss different birth control methods as well as any questions you may have regarding your exam. Any tests ordered during your visit will typically have results available within 1 week. All abnormal results will be communicated to you via your preferred method of contact. Some test results may require a follow-up visit with our office to discuss further treatment or testing that may be needed.
It is important that you are not on your period during an annual exam. If you happen to be during a time when you have annual exam scheduled, please just give us a call to reschedule.